Free fibosomes and growth stimulation in human peripheral lymphocytes: activation of free ribisomes as an essential event in growth induction

Journal of Cellular Physiology
H L Cooper, R Braverman


During the initial ten hours of growth in lymphocytes stimulated by phytohemagglutinin, the cells are converted from a state in which over 70% of all ribosomes are inactive free ribosomes, to one in which over 80% of ribosomes are in polysomes or in native ribosomal subunits. In this initial period, there was a neglible increase in total ribosomal RNA due to increased RNA synthesis, and abolition of ribosomal RNA synthesis with low concentrations of actinomycin D did not interfere with polysome formation. Therefore, the conversion is accomplished by the activation of existing free ribosomes rather than by accumulation of newly synthesized particles. The large free ribosome pool of resting lymphocytes is thus an essential source of components for accelerated protein synthesis early in lymphocyte activation, before increased synthesis can provide a sufficient number of new ribosomes. Free ribosomes accumulate once more after 24 to 48 hours of growth, when RNA and DNA synthetic activity are maximal. This reaccumulation of inactive ribosomes at the peak of growth activity may represent preparation for a return to the resting state where cells are again susceptible to stimulation. Activation of free ribosomes to form polysomes appea...Continue Reading


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